I Heart SCV
May, 2017 - Issue #151
No one goes to Sacramento on purpose except for politicians - and our local radio station. This spring, KHTS AM 1220 ("Your Hometown Station") made its annual bus trip to California's capital city. Claritans go in hopes of influencing state politicians and power players. In other words, influential Santa Claritians mush into a confined vehicle, drive one of California's most desolate highways and disembark in a city that's like LA - the parts of LA without culture, celebrities or hope. But importantly, the visit to Sacramento reminds far-away politicians not to forget about Santa Clarita.
State Senator Scott Wilk has been working to end any threats of Cemex mining in Santa Clarita. Yes, that issue still persists. Some have speculated that President Trump's emphasis on fixing America's infrastructure and streamlining regulations could put more leverage behind the aggregate mining company's claim on sand and gravel, so Wilk may want to work faster than his predecessors.
Most Claritans are behind him on this issue. You could say they want to save the environment, but I think more want to protect their pricey rides from being dinged while driving behind all those Cemex gravel trucks.
One of Wilk's other locally-focused bills would consolidate the Newhall County Water District and the Castaic Lake Water Agency into one new Santa Clarita Water District. Wilk believes that this could mean improved efficiency and more sway in regional water issues. You're yawning now, but this is one of those boring things that matters. They who control the water control development in the whole valley - and your monthly water bill rate, too.
About those Potholes
If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself. That's the mindset behind Assemblyman Dante Acosta's AB 1172, which would transfer control over part of Sierra Highway from Caltrans to the City of Santa Clarita.
It's the portion of the road between Friendly Valley Parkway and Golden Valley Road. If you drive it, you know this stretch can be pretty rough on your tires. There would be negotiations to get funding from Sacramento or to get the road improved to a certain state before any transfer would take place. Regardless, Acosta seems to be acknowledging that Santa Clarita will take better care of its own roads than our other options.
At the State Capitol, Acosta has also been working on resolving fallout from the Aliso Canyon gas leak and on tweaking the bidding process for disabled-veteran owned businesses. It's never too soon to think about re-election, and these sorts of issues are likely to play well with the voters who will be deciding how much time Acosta spends in Sacramento.
Our local politicians may need more substantial things to do. Recent council meetings have dwelled on the definition of a "specialty retail store," a discussion so complex that it had to be continued to another meeting. City staff members do most of the hard work making Santa Clarita run smoothly, so it's understandable that councilmembers like to nitpick here and there.
In such a vacuum of usefulness and purpose, the City Council has also tried its hand at lobbying on state and federal issues. A 50-point legislative platform takes a stand on everything from Cap-and-Trade funds to national monuments. There's even a point about local control over cell tower locations - some councilmembers worry about their aesthetics and potential radiation. Still, only a handful of people in Sacramento and Washington, DC are likely to take much notice. That's why it never hurts to be proactive with bus trips and the like to remind our politicians how much they should fear (Or, better yet, heart!) the people of SCV.
This column is intended as satire and a (sometimes successful) attempt at humor. Suggestions, catty comments and veiled threats intended for the author can be e-mailed to email@example.com.